By Jaime Lisk
You’ve found the perfect training to attend – it’s a topic you have been curious about for the past year, the top expert in the field is speaking, the training is during your slow season, and you feel like you could really learn something. But now you need to ask your boss for approval. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you forward the email to your boss and she approves it. But if you’re like most people, you may have a bit of anxiety at the thought of asking for approval. It can be an easy yes if you do your homework and you know how to ask.
Here are some sure-fire steps to successfully ask for training:
Do Your Research. Take time to research the training rather than simply reading the headline on an email. Gather all the necessary information on logistics including date, location, content, sessions available, cost, and deadline for registering. Keep in mind that the total cost may be more than the attendance fee; be sure you have considered the cost of transportation, lodging, meals, and other resources. Have all this information organized and ready to share with your boss. You may want to print a marketing flyer and the details you’ve gathered for your meeting.
Prepare Your Case. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes—consider why you should attend this training and how it will benefit the company. Here are some questions that can get you started: Why do you need this training? How will it help you do your job better? What can you learn from this training that you will apply at work? What is the ROI for the company? Is this an area of need within your department or organization? Does this training address a current trend or a problem your organization has been facing? Will this training help you further develop a strength, or will it focus on an area for improvement? Additionally, check out your company guidelines on training to make sure you follow the company policy.
Share the Wealth. Consider how this training can benefit others within your organization. Can you bring back information to share with others within your team or organization? Is there something you will learn that will help you better lead a team? Let your boss know you plan to host a lunch-and-learn when you return to share the information you learned with the team. If you have a plan to spread the knowledge to others, it will vastly improve the ROI—and give you a chance to demonstrate your mentoring and teaching abilities.
Schedule a Meeting with Your Boss. By putting a meeting on the calendar to discuss the training, you are showing your boss that this is important to you. During the meeting, present your case. Let your boss know all about the training and clearly outline why this is beneficial to you and the organization. Have your materials available and be prepared for your boss to ask clarifying questions or want to know more about how this training will be effective for your performance at the company. Make sure you are clear and concise, while also providing enough detail and time for questions.
Bonus Round: Tips for making the most of your training.
At the Training. Be present. Make sure you attend sessions that apply to your goals and intention for attending, rather than the session your “conference BFF” is attending. Bring all necessary materials (notebook, pen, print outs) and do any assigned pre-work. Network at the event – make connections with other attendees and introduce yourself to your favorite speaker. Take photos at the training and post on social media within your company’s policies – your marketing and HR department will thank you.
Post Training. Sometimes trainings can overwhelm you with information so select three takeaways from the training that you want to apply at work. Make a plan for practicing this skill, implementing a new tool, or changing a process. Whatever that looks like for you, just be sure to follow through with applying what you learned from the training. Create a brief overview of what you learned at the training and share this with your boss. Send a thank you note to your boss for approving your training. Host a lunch-and-learn to share any knowledge with coworkers. Taking these steps after the training will improve your chances of being approved for future trainings.
Hopefully these tips make your next training approval a cinch. Feel free to share your experiences, and let us know what else you have done to get your training approved.